Kefir in the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders

Curr Nutr Rep. 2020 Sep;9(3):184-192. doi: 10.1007/s13668-020-00315-3.


Purpose of review: This review summarizes recent animal and human trials examining the potential for kefir to improve obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Evidence for pathways affected and suggestions of possible mechanisms of action are also considered.

Recent findings: Human trials examining the ability of kefir to recapitulate metabolic health benefits previously observed in rodent models have found mixed results. Kefir has long been associated with improvements in health including obesity, diabetes, NAFLD, and dyslipidemia in preventative animal trials. While recent evidence from human trials supports a positive role of kefir in modulating diabetes-related markers, the impact of kefir consumption on markers of dyslipidemia, NAFLD, and body composition has been for the most part contradictory to animal findings. Variability in organisms for kefir fermentation poses a significant challenge in making meaningful comparisons. Recommendations for future well-controlled animal and human research are provided.

Keywords: Diabetes; Functional foods; Kefir; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Dyslipidemias / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Kefir*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*